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Written by Heleen Johnson
I’ve been talking about puzzles and puzzle building for a while now, so it’s about time to get serious and discuss an actual lesson plan around a very specific puzzle, namely the playing in the park puzzle. You can use this lesson plan in your very own classroom from as early as Preschool up to Grade 2 and tackle a range of CAPS related themes throughout the year.

The very first thing I ensured when designing this specific puzzle is the continuity in the range. The same five characters appear in the puzzles and they can easily be identified. I even gave them names! There is Naledi in the wheelchair, her twin brother Lesego who just loves his stripy t-shirt, Victor the cool dude with his cap, Rose the girl whom we always see interacting with Nature and Ayush with his glasses who is supposed to be looking after his younger sister Basheera. Basheera is the sixth character, but is not in all the puzzles.

Why the continuity you may ask? It lends the opportunity for the learners to identify with the characters. They can get to know them and develop the sense that they “belong” in the classroom, just like the learner himself. It personifies the diversity of the South African culture and depicts the group as working and playing together which sends a message of unity in diversity. The characters were developed to show how a group can be inclusive across the borders of abilities, interests, gender, and religion. Seeing the same group of learners in each puzzle enforces the idea of an inclusive society where everyone still has uniqueness.

The scenes for the puzzle images where carefully developed to link with themes commonly used in the Preschool Phase, up and until Grade 2.
The image of the Park lends itself to a variety of discussions and insights around:

Personal Safety

There is a wide range of questions you can ask your learners around this specific topic, such as:
Why are there no adults supervising, and should there be?
Why is the Park not fenced, and what are the safety issues around that?


Here you can ask questions such as:

What time of year do you think it is, and why do you say that?
Guide the learners to comment on clothing, the colour of nature, helping them to think critically in solving the problem.

How to make friends:

Enter into a discussion about each of the characters having friend to play with, except Lesego.
Could it be that he prefers to play marbles on his own?
Did the other boys not invite him to play ball with them?
If he wants to join them, how should he indicate that?

Building friendships & dealing with interpersonal conflict

Can one be friends with anybody, even if they are in a wheelchair?
Would it be OK if the girls join the boys playing with the ball, or should girls only play with girls?
How should a conflict between Naledi (in the wheelchair,) and her twin brother Lesego be resolved?

Children’s Rights:

Here you can ask questions, such as:
Why do we have play areas for children?
What would the responsibilities of children be to their right to play?
What other rights can we see in the image that the children are exercising? (The right to associate, the right to nourished…)

The list can go on and on.. I hope that this has encourage you to see the potential of the image of the puzzle as part of your learning support material in teaching around your themes.
Next time I will discuss the puzzle where the learners visit the farm.

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